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MAY/JUNE 2010 $3.95





Find it…at The French Basket


1609 Darby Drive English Village Florence 256-764-1237 2 | No’Ala


What’s your idea of home? hat do you think of when you think of

the Year and Board presidents than any other local firm.

home? No matter what image comes to mind, it’s a

Each one of us is a hard worker and an expert in the

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family, and make our memories. Home is where we live.

of home happens to be, we’re just the people who can help you find it. Welcome home, Shoals!

We don’t mean to brag, but our Realtors understand home better than most. And we back up our words with an unbeatable track record, with more past Realtors of

• LaDonna Mansell • Vicky Phillips • Joy Long • Anne Bernauer • Quint Langstaff • Pumpkin Rhodes • Pam Minetree • Babs Campbell • Robin Smith Bowers • Vance Gray • Linda Boyd • Louis Bailes • BJ Baskin • Susanne Morris • Keith Bevis • Kay Martin • Sue Beckham Contact us at Renaissance Realty • • (256) 740-0706

May/June 2010 | 3

We can print that. From four color publications and bridal invitations on Crane stationery to copies and reports from our Copy Cat Center, if you need printing we’re the only name you need to know. We can print that!

4 | No’Ala

Printing • Office Supplies • Furniture • Gifts 113 North Court Street, Florence AL 35630 256-764-8061

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{ contents }

ON THE COVER A comfortable place to entertain… in this issue, No’Ala takes you inside some of the most beautiful homes in the Shoals to give you ideas and inspiration you might use in your own. We also highlight some great outdoor spaces, including a story about a garden tribute by the children and grandchildren (shown here) of Ann and Gene Harris. Residents of our area have always been known for their talent and their hospitality—because when it comes to beautiful homes, there’s no place like the Shoals!

© 2010 Steve Cole–

6 | No’Ala

May/June 2010 | 7

{ contents } 10 Contributors

May/June 2010 Volume 3: Issue 3

12 Calendar


16 Business Profile: Donnie Phillips

C. Allen Tomlinson Editor-In-Chief

22 The Return of the Perfect House

David Sims Managing Editor/Design Director

46 Collecting: Matchstick Art 50 A Regal Renovation on Walnut 58 Shopping 62 Ranch Re-Do in Edgemont 70 A Memorial Garden 74 Jan Hudson’s Black Thumb 78 Twenty Questions for Real Estate Professionals

Contributing Writers Jan Hudson Claire Stewart Contributing Photographers Danny Mitchell Steve Cole Contributing Designers Justin Hall Business Manager Matthew Liles Marketing Coordinator/Advertising Sales Jeff Linholm Advertising Sales Jonathan Boatright Interns Bethany Oliver Claire Stewart Printing and Distribution Printers and Stationers, Inc. ••• No’Ala is published six times annually by ATSA PO Box 2530, Florence, AL 35630 Phone: 256-766-4222 | Fax: 256-766-4106 Toll-free: 800-779-4222 Web: Standard postage paid at Florence, AL. A one-year subscription is $19.95 for delivery in the United States. Signed articles reflect only the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their advertisements. © 2008-2010 ATSA, All rights reserved. Send all correspondence to Allen Tomlinson, Editor, at the postal address above, or by e-mail to Letters may be edited for space and style.

© 2010 Steve Cole

To advertise, contact us at: 256-766-4222, or The editor will provide writer’s guidelines upon request. Prospective authors should not submit unsolicited manuscripts; please query the editor first.

No’Ala is printed with vegetable-based inks on 100% recycled paper.

8 | No’Ala

{ editor’s letter }



I give up. I thought I had pretty good taste, but I certainly know when I’m outranked. In this issue of No’Ala, we take a look inside some of the most beautiful houses in the Shoals, and I’m beginning to think I might need to step aside and let some of these people take over the job of interior design at my house. The featured homes in this issue are comfortable, welcoming, and, in most cases, absolutely stunning. This is our second Home and Garden issue, but we learned last time that this is one of the most popular issues we’ll create this year: there’s something about seeing the homes that other people live in that inspires us to take a new look at our own surroundings, roll up our sleeves, and decorate. And in my case, it inspires me to give up my pitiful attempts to self-decorate and call in the professionals. I want my house to look like some of these! You’re also going to learn a little bit about what a landscape architect does—and it’s more than just garden design! We’re taking an in-depth look at two houses that were renovated from top to bottom, and we’ve assembled our second Perfect Home, with the idea that it’s not always under one roof. Even our retail buying guide has products for the home and garden that will make you drool. We hope this issue will be a reference guide for a long time to come! There are a couple of things we’d like to point out to our loyal readers, about this issue and about No’Ala in general. Last issue, our printing partner, PSI, switched us to recycled paper and vegetable-based inks, which give the magazine added brightness while at the same time making us feel good about our environmental impact. With this issue, we’ve added 16 more pages and gone to a perfect-bound spine—that means instead of staples, the magazine has a flat, glued spine. We also continue to grow our print quantities and our distribution! We’re able to grow because you continue to read No’Ala, and you continue to patronize our advertisers. Our goal is to keep bringing you the very best of the Shoals area—and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface! For those of you who subscribe, a note about what's coming. Our next issue, Entertainment, will once again include a surprise that only subscribers receive, underwritten by First Southern Bank. It’s one of the benefits of subscribing, so if you’re interested, please visit and get on the list! In September, we’ll also take a look at some of the most beautiful people in the region, and we don't always mean physical beauty, although there's an abundance of that in the Shoals as well. And then, believe it or not, it will be time for the holidays…we’ll be getting pumped up about Christmas, and another year will be gone. Time flies when you’re having fun! So, enjoy this issue. If you need me, I’ll probably be on the phone, trying to find someone to help me with just about every room in my house. This issue has given me so many ideas!

May/June 2010 | 9

{ contributing staff }

Allen Tomlinson

David Sims

Matt Liles

Jeff Linholm

Jonathan Boatright

Danny Mitchell

Bethany Oliver

Claire Stewart

Allen Tomlinson writes advertising copy, marketing plans, articles for this magazine, and grocery lists. When he's not working, he’s counting the days until his second child graduates from Sewanee (this May) and his third graduates from Auburn (December, 2011). Before he had children, he had a full head of hair. David Sims loves to make things pretty— not necessarily a vocation that will save the World, but one that will at least make it more pleasing to the eye. When he’s not working on the magazine, he loves swimming, eating sugary treats, and singing in his car. Matt Liles loves Dr. Pepper, and likes his hamburgers sans ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise—thank you very much. In addition to his goal as a professional shower singer, Matt is a student at The University of North Alabama, majoring in entertainment publicity and promotion, and will reprise his role as managing editor of No’Ala’s entertainment issue this July. Matt hopes to be just like Simon Cowell in the very near future.

10 | No’Ala

That guy who carried your groceries the other day? That was Jeff Linholm. And the guy who got the door for you last night? Jeff, too. He was probably the same person who picked up your garbage after the neighbor’s dog knocked it over, or complimented that new dress your husband didn't notice. Jeff acquired his boyish charm growing up in Cullman, Alabama, and continued being an all-around good guy when he moved to Florence. Somehow he got through school un-jaded with a degree in marketing. When he’s not working, Jeff can be found watching movies with friends or running and hiking local trails. Jonathan Boatright is native of Waterloo, Alabama, and graduate of The University of North Alabama. He doesn’t commute, but Waterloo is not that far away (really it’s not—honest). He is as dependable as a fox, charming as a sloth, and as southern as cotton. Really only one of these statements is true—the rest are just compliments. Danny Mitchell has photographed everyone in the tri-state region, when in a previous life he owned the company that took school pictures. These days, he says,

shooting pictures of animals (especially dogs), No’Ala sessions, commercial photos and the occasional portrait or two are much more relaxing than trying to get an entire class of fifth graders to smile. Bethany Oliver is a senior at the University of North Alabama and has been a part of the Shoals area her entire life. As a communications major, she enjoys reaching out into the community and plans to continue working with people in a non-profit fashion. Outside of class, Bethany spends a lot of her time working at the Sweet Magnolia Café and taking in the various talent throughout the area. After graduating this December, she hopes to be Nashvillebound. Claire Stewart is a sophomore at UNA with an English major and a marketing minor. She is originally from Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Claire is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, Habitat for Humanity, and the UNA Honors program. She is ecstatic about her internship with No’Ala and hopes one day to write for a publication much like this one.

May/June 2010 | 11

Calendar of events May

May 1 Rogersville First Saturday 3:00pm–8:00pm; No admission; Live music and merchants line the streets of downtown Rogersville. (256) 247-9449 May 1 and 2 Center Stage presents The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Curtain Lecture: 6:30pm, performance: 7:30pm on May 1; Curtain Lecture: 2:00pm, performance: 3:00pm on May 2; Ritz Theatre, 111 West 3rd Street, Sheffield, Alabama; 256.383.0533 or Tickets Prices: In Advance: $10.00 for Adults, $8.00 for Students; At the Door: $12.00 for Adults, $9.00 for Students May 3 and 4 Ceramic Works by Paveen Chunhaswasdikul Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, 217 E. Tuscaloosa St, Florence, AL 35630; 9am–4pm; 256-760-6379; No admission May 5, 12, 19, 26 Wednesdays in May–Music in the Park 11:00am–6:00pm; Wilson Park, Florence; No Admission Live music by area musicians can be heard throughout scenic Wilson Park on Wednesdays in May. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy excellent music in the fresh air and sunshine. Pack a picnic lunch or grab a hotdog from area vendors, as you sit back and enjoy the music. May 7 First Friday, downtown Florence May 8 The Country Shindig 7:00pm; Muscle Shoals High School Auditorium, East Avalon Avenue; $7 adults, $5 children 6-12 years, age 5 & under free; Family oriented Country Music show featuring the host band “Showdown” and a variety of Shoals Area talent. (256) 415-0803 May 8 Panache An elegant auction for Riverhill School; May 13-16 Shoals Community Theatre presents the Zodiac Production of Noises Off 7:30pm Thursday–Saturday; 2pm Sunday; Shoals Theater, 123 N. Seminary St., Florence, AL 35630; Cost: Adults $10; Students $8 256-764-1700

12 | No’Ala

JUNE 26-27

Helen Keller Festival of the Arts May 15-16 Arts Alive Festival Wilson Park, Florence; No admission; Stroll through beautiful Wilson Park and enjoy this juried fine arts and crafts festival featuring artists from across the country. Great food and art activities for children make this fun event for the whole family. May 15 Dining With Friends 2010 Dessert Reception Davidson Center, U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL, 9:00pm-12:00pm May 15 Rabbit Festival The Park on Oak Street, Leighton; Saturday, 8am–8pm; No admission Unveiling of historic marker. Rabbit petting zoo, arts & crafts, musical entertainment, antique tractors and farm equipment, mule wagons, antique car display and more. (256) 446-8477 or (256) 446-5565 May 21 Wine Tasting at Sweet Basil Café Join Sweet Basil Café and No’Ala magazine for Southern fare and wine pairings. Admission charged. Call (256) 764-5991 for reservations. May 23 Edsel Holden Presents… 2:00pm; Shoals Theater, 123 N. Seminary St., Florence, AL 35630 Admission charged In the Shoals, Edsel Holden is known as The Music Man. On Sunday, Holden shares his favorite musical tunes in a performance featuring some of his favorite soloists. 256-764-1700 May 29 Fourth Annual Cystic Fibrosis Motorcycle Ride and Auction McBride School, East Avalon, Muscle Shoals. Biker’s registration 8am-10am; ride 10am–12pm; lunch 12pm–1pm; auction at 1pm. Donations for the auction are appreciated and may be dropped off at attorney Tim Milam’s office on Main Street in Tuscumbia

May 29–30 CASA Battle of the Bands Riverfront Park, Sheffield; Details to follow May 31 Memorial Day Ceremony Colbert County Courthouse, Tuscumbia; 11:00am; No admission Special ceremony at the Circle of Valor, on the grounds of the courthouse, to honor all military and to remember the price they paid for our freedom. (256) 383-0783

June June 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29 Tuesday Evening Trolley Tours Corner of Sixth Street and Main Street, Tuscumbia; Two tours each Tuesday. Tours depart at 4:30pm, then again at 6:00pm; $5 per seat Ride a Tuscumbia Trolley to enjoy an interesting commentary by a guide presenting the history of Tuscumbia and its significant historic structures. You will be welcomed into one historic home each week. (256) 383-0783 June 4 First Friday in downtown Florence June 4–July 10 The Miracle Worker (STS Top 20 EVENT) Gates open at 6:45pm, play begins at 8pm, Friday and Saturday only; grounds of Helen Keller’s birthplace, 300 W. North Commons, Tuscumbia $10 reserved seating, $8 general admission (256) 383-4066

David Gardner is the Realtor® to know when you’re looking for a spot on the water or a home with a pool to call your own.

June 5 Rogersville’s First Saturday North Alabama African Heritage Festival Willie Green Center, Tuscumbia; 10am–until; Free; Wallace Ricks (256) 381-1797 June 5 and 6 Frontier Day Celebration 10:00am–4:00pm; Pope's Tavern, 203 Hermitage Dr, Florence, AL 256-760-6439 Step back in time and watch artisans in costume spinning wool, carving wood, working a forge, making brooms, creating corn shuck dolls, and playing dulcimers. No admission Muscle Shoals Area Street Rod Run Spring Park, Tuscumbia; Free to the public, Saturday: 10:00am– 4:00pm; Sunday: 9:00am–Noon; Registration fee to participate

David Gardner, Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Properties

This classic car show showcases all makes and models 1948 or earlier. Approximately 200 cars and trucks from across the country are representative of these vehicles. (256) 381-3518, (256) 383-0783 or (800) 344-0783

Continued page 14

2093 Florence Blvd, Florence, AL 35630 Direct: 256.349.0514

May/June 2010 | 13

Calendar of events

Continued from page 13

June 12 The Country Shindig Muscle Shoals High School Auditorium, East Avalon Avenue 7:00pm; $7 adults, $5 children 6-12 years, age 5 & under free

dish makes it summer Summer weddings. Outdoor parties. Barbeques. With innovative and unique catering solutions for any type or size of event, from small and intimate to large and lavish—dish will create the finest food experience for your special event. Call us today to begin planning, and make your next event fresh. 256.766.2414

Family oriented country music show featuring the host band “Showdown” and a variety of Shoals Area talent. For more information: Michelle Bradford (256) 415-0803 Sheffield Founders Day Riverfront Park & Downtown, Sheffield; 10:00am to midnight; concert at 8:00pm; No admission except for small charge for children's activities; For more information: (256) 383-0250 June 18 Wine Tasting at Sweet Basil Café Join Sweet Basil Café for delicious foods and wine pairings. Admission charged. Call (256) 764-5991 for reservations. June 17, 18, 19, 24 and 25 Summer Stock at the Ritz presents Nunsense 7:30pm; Ritz Theatre, 111 West 3rd Street, Sheffield, Alabama 256.383.0533 or; Tickets: In Advance: $15.00 for Adults, $10.00 for Students; at the door: $17.50 for Adults, $12.50 for Students June 21–July 16 2010 Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, 511 North Water Street, Tuscumbia, Alabama; Exhibition Hours: Sunday, 1:00pm–3:00pm; Monday–Friday, 9:00am–5:00pm; Saturday, June 26th, 10:00am– 3:00pm; Sunday, June 27th, 1:00pm–4:00pm; 256.383.0533 or; Admission: Monday–Friday: $5.00 for Adults, $3.00 for Students; Sundays: FREE; Saturday, June 26th–FREE; Group rates available. Group reservations required. June 21–July 16 A Survey of Mastery in Contemporary Craft Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, 511 North Water Street, Tuscumbia, Alabama; Exhibition Hours: Sunday, 1:00pm–3:00pm; Monday–Friday, 9:00am–5:00pm; Saturday, June 26th, 10:00am– 3:00pm; Sunday, June 27th, 1:00pm–4:00pm 256.383.0533 or Admission: Monday–Friday: $5.00 for Adults, $3.00 for Students; Sundays: FREE; Saturday, June 26th–FREE; Group rates available. Group reservations required. June 26–27 Helen Keller Festival of the Arts Saturday, June 26, 9:00am–5:00pm; Sunday, June 27, 11:00am– 4:00pm; Spring Park, Tuscumbia, Alabama; 256.383.0533 or; No admission June 27 6th Annual Lucky Ducky Derby 3:00pm; Spring Park, Tuscumbia, Alabama256.383.0533 or

open at 11:00 • monday–friday • 118 w. mobile st. • florence 14 | No’Ala

In February, 2010, U.S. News and World Report named Glenwood Healthcare as one of America’s Best Nursing Homes—one of only two in Alabama named to this prestigious list! If you or someone you love is a candidate for rehab services, assisted living or long term care, ask around. You’ll probably hear our name a lot. We are dedicated to quality in rehab and long-term care, and we work to earn our great reputation every day. We want to give you a good experience to talk about, too! • Rehab • Assisted Living • Long-Term Care ______________________________________ 211 Ana Drive, Florence, AL 35630 • 256-766-8963 •

May/June 2010 | 15

{ everybody’s business }

What I enjoy most is taking an idea and making it work. I can’t wait to get to work every day, and if I didn’t need the money I would do this for free!

16 | No’Ala


Oh, sure, that’s how he got his start. Donnie’s father moved to the Shoals to work with TVA as an electrician, but started cutting grass and planting shrubs as a part-time job. Pretty soon, it grew to become more than just a yard service, and Tinga Nursery was born. Donnie grew up surrounded by blooming things, and spent his time after school and during the summers working with his twin brother, Ronnie, an older brother, Jimmy, and their parents in the family nursery. Tinga was named for a family friend, Jake Tinga. The family worked long hours, but it was fun and they built a strong business together. “I still have a problem with roses, though,” admits Donnie, “because if I misbehaved I got sent to the rose house to pull weeds.” The work was hard, but life was good. That is, until 1970, when Donnie’s father unexpectedly passed away, while Donnie was still a teenager. The family rallied and kept the business going, under the direction of Donnie’s mother and older brother Jimmy. Ronnie and Donnie even took turns going to college: it took a little longer for the boys to complete their educations, but they did, and each worked hard to help support the brother who was in school. Just like the family nursery, education became a family project. “When it was my turn to be home working, people would bring their landscape plans to the nursery and ask for my help,” said Donnie. “I would see things that would make more sense or would look better, and I would suggest them. Pretty soon, people were asking me to help them with drainage problems and I

May/June 2010 | 17

would pour sidewalks and build structures in their yards. It exposed me to a lot of design styles, and I learned a lot.” He also got to know Mac Smith, a local architect with Smith, Kranert and Tomblin Architects in Florence. Mac became his mentor, and encouraged him to go to school to become a landscape architect. Donnie’s went to the University of Georgia, where he earned his degree in Landscape Architecture. There, he combined his hands-on knowledge of plants with the ability to design outdoor spaces on a grand scale, incorporating everything from building outdoor structures to placing buildings on a site and landscaping around them. So, what is a landscape architect? “Landscape architects design outdoor spaces,” said Donnie, “whether they are residential, public spaces and streetscapes, commercial projects or subdivisions. Much of what I do has to do with site planning. I’ve worked on large scale projects, like the UNA campus, and I’ve worked on individual projects, like back or front yards for residences. But the land and the shape it takes drives every design. I analyze the space and design site improvements, place the structures, design hardscapes, retaining walls, grading, vegetation, and make sure the overall look is pleasing.”

One of Donnie’s first local design/build projects was Rivers Edge Condominiums, overlooking Lake Wilson. Later, he worked on the Medical Mall in Tuscumbia, on Avalon Avenue. “Robbie Martin and Gene Aycock brought me the plans they had drawn up, and I looked them over and said I thought I could do better. They told me to do it, so I did! They liked it, and they especially liked the fact that the building was completed on budget and on time.” One of the most unique of Donnie’s projects was the conversion of the University of North Alabama from a regular urban campus to a pedestrian-based one. Working with architects Fitz Hill and Hugo Dante, Donnie helped take out the streets and install the structures and landscaping that is in place today. It was their responsibility to implement the university’s Master Plan, and they were a good team. The result is one of the most appealing and beautiful campuses in Alabama—and probably in the southeast. Donnie created the comprehensive site plan for Doublehead Resort, and one project he particularly enjoyed was the Stanely Robbins project. In the early 1980s, Mr. Robbins, the founder of Florence-based flooring manufacturer NAFCO, began hauling in a million cubic yards of fill to create the island where he

I always shoot for longevity in my design, and I’m always asking myself ‘will it last?’ As far as I’m concerned, that’s the real key to good design.

18 | No’Ala

later built his home. Donnie was hired to design the site plan, including locating the driveways and decks. That project earned him a prestigious Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Academy Award of his profession. “The James and Earline McClanahan home in Muscle Shoals was featured in Southern Living,” says Donnie, rattling off the list of honors and awards his career has seen. Inez and Edsel Holden’s swimming pool earned a 1988 Hall of Fame Award; the Rick and Linda Walter home earned the National Award of Merit from the National Spa and Pool Institute… and the list goes on and on. Donnie’s background in design and construction has also led to building designs and additions, including the lodge at Doublehead, and the Harvey and Joyce Ann Robbins and Clyde and Penny Roberts homes on Wilson Lake And that’s just a partial list from the Shoals. Much of Donnie’s career has been spent designing and building outside the area, including a series of regional shopping malls in West Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia, and the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Donnie was also involved in the Birmingham Green Project, which is now a mature and beautiful part of the downtown streetscape, and which won the National Landscape Award from the American Association of Nurserymen. “What I enjoy the most is taking an idea and making it work,” says Donnie. “I like working with the restraints of a site, and then turning it into something that works for everyone and that everyone likes—including me. Most days, I can’t wait to get to work, and if I didn’t need the money I would do this for free!” People are learning more about what a landscape architect does, but the biggest mistake most people make is not getting Donnie involved early enough in the process. “The mark of great landscape architecture is when the project appears to have grown out of the site,” Donnie says. “I could save people a lot of money if they would start with the site plan.” Donnie’s heroes are Lawrence Halprin and Thomas Church, legendary landscape architects who revolutionized design and changed the profession. “Simple is better,” says Donnie, a lesson learned from studying Halprin and Church. “I always shoot for longevity in my design, and I’m always asking myself ‘will it last?’ As far as I’m concerned, that’s the real key to good design.” Donnie, his wife, Vicky, who is one of the owners of Renaissance Realty, and their son, Ben, love making the Shoals their home. Donnie and Vicky have come a long way since those days when the Phillips boys were taking turns putting each other through school. The next time you drive past UNA or past the Conference Center, for which he prepared the site plan, take a moment to reflect on the longevity of those designs. They are timeless, and will endure. That’s the beauty of good design. That’s what Donnie Phillips does best. N

May/June 2010 | 19

{ guess who I saw }

Jim and Susannah Torres Debbie Moore, Randal Reed and Carrie Moore-Reed Cynthia Burkhead and David Shields Jeff Addison and Brad Thompson

Jeffrey Bibbee and Virginia Grant

Jeff Addison, Jacob Sanders, Corey Lawson, Clay Thomas, Brad Thompson, and Sam Lott

Billy Don Anderson, Steve Holt, and Liz Anderson

George Lindsey and Claudia Wells PHOTOS BY SHANNON WELLS


Tonya Holly and George Lindsey Ureka Malone, George Lindsey, and Brittany Letsinger Lindsey Holt and James Tolkan

Tammy Irons, Sarah and Bobby Irons 20 | No’Ala

Anne Wilson, George Lindsey, and David and Teryl Shields

BJ Cale and George Lindsey

Choose a professional who is consistently at the top of her profession.

BABS CAMPBELL 256-740-0706 256-366-3090

May/June 2010 | 21

THE POWDER ROOM | SCOTT AND ELLEN CROSS, FLORENCE The powder room, properly done, is like the perfect cocktail ring, or the right pair of earrings—it isn’t necessarily the focal point, but it’s a unique accessory that makes everything else just perfect.

22 | No’Ala



It’s rare to find a house that’s so perfect that every room is a work of art. Instead, it's more common to have a favorite living room at one friend’s house, a favorite kitchen in another’s, and a favorite bedroom, bath or garden somewhere else. A year ago, No’Ala set about collecting pictures from some of our favorite houses, and it turned out to be a reader favorite. The amazing thing was, there were four or five more “perfect” rooms for every one we featured. Therefore, we are pleased to present another collection of some of the most beautiful rooms in the Shoals, full of inspiration and ideas for you as you build or decorate your own. This year’s offerings are distinctively different, but each is unique, stunning… and perfect. It seems that once again, we believe that the Perfect Home doesn’t have to be under one roof.

Design: Susan Trousdale Interiors; Vanity Skirt: Beverly Kelly; Sconces: Circa Lighting; Accessories: Susan Trousdale Interiors

May/June 2010 | 23

The Perfect Home II

THE LIVING ROOM | MIKE AND ELIZABETH WEBB, FLORENCE The Webb’s Florence living room is filled with light and contains the perfect mixture of new and antique furnishings. There’s something interesting to look at, no matter where you look.

24 | No’Ala

Design: Susan Trousdale Interiors; Construction: Wade Gilchrist Builders; Draperies: Gail Faulkner, The Drapery Place; Slipcovers: Phyllis Stevenson; Accessories: Halsey House; Ironwork: Craig Carson, Metal Ora; Flowers: Lola’s Gifts and Flowers; Antique armoire, mantle, and mirror are gifts from Mike’s mother, Jane Little

May/June 2010 | 25

Janna Kristen Stone and Chad Edward Hess June 19, 2010


Bride’s Name: Janna Kristen Stone Bride’s Hometown: Florence, Alabama Bride’s Parents: Ronnie and Jan Stone Bride’s Grandparents: Helen Edwards and the late Leland Edwards, Sr.; the late Mr. and Mrs. William S. Stone Groom’s Name: Chad Edward Hess Groom’s Hometown: Forest Hills, Kentucky Groom’s Parents: Carolyn Hess and the late Rev. Carl Hess Groom’s Grandparents: Nancy Hiel, Margie Hiel and the late Edward Hiel; the late Mr. and Mrs. Louis Hess Bride’s Attendants: Jessie Hudson (Maid of Honor), Kim Olive, Whitney Dalton, Meghan Quillen, Ashton Johnson, Kacy Hairell, and Livia Olive Groomsmen: Curtis Hess (Best Man), Paul Hanson, Gabe Reese, Mark Talley, Micah Hammond, and Luke Hammond Flower Girl/Ring Bearer: Lilly Ann Olive and Landon Olive Ceremony: June 19, 2010, 2:00 p.m., Woodmont Baptist Church, Florence, Alabama Rehearsal Dinner Information: Dockside, at the home of Dr. and Mrs. James Hudson Reception Information: Turtle Point Yacht and Country Club Wedding Coordinator: Faye Mann Bride’s Gown: Allure Bridesmaid’s Gowns: Mori Lee Tuxedos: Jim’s Formal Wear Florist: Kaleidoscope Florist and Designs Photographer: Jim Frawley Videographer: Jimmy Olive Caterer: Turtle Point Yacht and Country Club Hair: Patti Schack Honeymoon: Disney World Registries: Lynda’s Loft, Target, Belk Parties: Couple’s Shower, given by the Staff of Woodmont Baptist Church; Bridal Tea at Woodmont Baptist Church, given by Friends; Bachelorette Party, given by Bridesmaids; Bridesmaids’ Luncheon, given by Connie Gilley, Pam Byram, and Pam Tate

Dockside Dining Let us stock your boat with fresh foods and wonderful wines. We can also help prepare all of your summertime parties! Dine in, carry out, for catering and entertaining—our fresh approach is known up and down the river.


1627 Darby Drive, English Village Florence, Alabama


Ask about our wine pairing evenings! 26 | No’Ala


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May/June 2010 | 27

The Perfect Home II

THE KITCHEN | JOHN AND EDY CARLTON, FLORENCE Edy Carlton is an unrepentant flea market shopper, but the kitchen she shares with husband John is anything but thrift store. The rooms are filled with comfy upholstered pieces, antiques, family photos and art, but it’s the light that fills the space with a golden glow that makes this room so inviting.

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Design: Edy Carlton; Construction: King & Associates; Draperies: Linda Hogan, All Strings Attached; Accessories/Island: Halsey House

May/June 2010 | 29

From title searches and title insurance to loan closings in one of our three convenient locations, no one in the region has more experience than we do. Our honesty and hard-working values may date back 123 years, but our technology is strictly 21st century. Visit our website to see how easy we make it for you!

Three locations to serve you: FLORENCE: 110 S. Pine Street (256) 764-2141

TUSCUMBIA: 301 N. Water Street (256) 381-2802

RUSSELLVILLE: 202 N. Jackson Ave., Suite 100 (256) 332-6092

If you’re ready to buy or sell a home, you want to work with a Realtor who’s connected to the community. And when it comes to the Shoals, the pros at Cypress Realty are no one else. We’re ready to connect you with your next home!


Beautiful things for the people you love. 1633 Darby Drive, English Village, 2404 Woodward Avenue, Muscle Florence • 256-767-2056 Shoals • 256-383-1844

I look at the entire picture before I make recommendations to help you meet your financial goals. Call me, and let’s get a conversation started.

30 | No’Ala

The Shoals area has a very good chance at having an Olympic contender, as David Adamo continues to train for the 2012 Equestrian competition in London. But Olympic dreams are expensive—won’t you help? You can make taxdeductible contributions through the American Horse Trials Association; personal gifts of any size and corporate sponsorships are also appreciated. For more information, call David’s Manager, Jim Graham, at 256-436-1747 or visit Thank you!

May/June 2010 | 31

The Perfect Home II

THE DINING ROOM | DAVID AND FAYE ABRAMSON, FLORENCE Woodlawn is the name of David and Faye Abramson’s 1830 historic home in Florence. The Abramson’s son, Zac Abramson, designed this formal dining room with one-of-a-kind antiques and family heirlooms, like the Grandfather clock, which was a wedding anniversary present to Faye from David.

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Design: Zac Abramson, Abramson Antiques; Draperies: Rollins Drapery; Carpet: Towles House of Carpets; Accessories/Glassware: The Yellow Door

May/June 2010 | 33

The Perfect Home II

THE FAMILY ROOM | DAVID AND SARA JEFFERY, FLORENCE David and Sara Jeffery’s family room gives the feeling of an elegant apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side—which is fitting since the young couple lived and worked in the Big Apple before settling in the Shoals. Sara Jeffery expertly combined new pieces and accessories with family treasures and gifts of art to create a warm gathering spot that’s both warm and remarkably chic.

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Design: Sara Jeffery; Draperies: Debbie Haden; Pillows: Todd Gillreath, Todd Gillreath Upholstery; Accessories: The French Basket; Flowers: Lola’s Gifts and Flowers; Styling: Paige Thornton

May/June 2010 | 35


PHOTO RESTORATION PORTRAITS COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING EVENTS SPORTS INTERIORS PRODUCT STOCK 1712 Birmingham Street Sheffield, Alabama 35660 256-386-0944 (office) 256-627-3056 (cell)



Member, Professional Photographers of America

36 | No’Ala

Call me when you’re ready for a home and garden of your own. I’m Anne Bernauer and I want to be your Realtor® — for life.

Call 256-740-0706 or 256-757-9008 Email Visit

Now there’s help for those who want to remove unsightly and unwanted facial hair—the ancient art of threading, practiced by Lucia Mitchell. It’s fast, long-lasting and affordable, and your skin will feel baby soft! Call for your appointment today and learn more about the ancient art of hair removal—threading. Raspberry and Macadamia Nut Brownies. Pecan Cheese Biscuits. Garlic Sweet Crunchy Pickles. All from the kitchen of Betty Sims, all available online for quick delivery, and all simply delicious. And check out Betty’s cookbooks, packed full of ideas for cooking and entertaining! Visit or drop by Sweet Basil Café in English Village, Florence, and discover all of the Scrumptious delights!

1-877-865-1897 • 256-353-1897 •


256-275-1107 256-381-1770 Ronnie’s Cosmetology 103 S. Dickson St., Tuscumbia Licensed and Certified May/June 2010 | 37

The Perfect Home II

THE MASTER SUITE | GILES AND DEBORAH MCDANIEL, FLORENCE The master suite in the Florence home of Giles and Deborah McDaniel has the time-worn feel of a European country house—fitting, because Deborah McDaniel has lovingly filled the rooms with textiles, antiques, and furnishings from previous places lived and from trips abroad, including Italy, France, England and Germany.

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Design: Deborah McDaniel, Allied Member, ASID; Accessories: Noble Passage; The handmade bed is by a Dallas artist. The draperies are from India. The painting above the mantle was painted by Deborah’s Grandfather, and was given to her as a wedding gift.

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The Perfect Home II

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THE MASTER BATH | LYNN AND MISSY RIDGEWAY, MUSCLE SHOALS The master bath at Lynn and Missy Ridgeway’s lake house is a study in utilitarian restraint and low-maintenance materials, and uses space as efficiently as a luxurious ocean liner. His and Hers sinks and a walk-in shower are just perfect after a day on Lake Wilson. The palette is masculine and neutral, but reflects the ever-changing colors of its surroundings.

Design: Paige Thornton; Cabinetry/Concrete Countertops: Ron Letson, Furnace Hill Mill Works; Accessories: The French Basket

May/June 2010 | 41

The Perfect Home II

THE OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE | DAVE AND NANCY MARBURY, FLORENCE Don’t let the formal layout of Dave and Nancy Marbury’s yard mislead you—this backyard (or, technically, their side yard) oasis is used nearly year-round by the Florence couple. The pool’s water feature adds sound to the visual beauty, and the space is used for entertaining, exercise and just for relaxation.

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Design: Will Lambert, Lambert Landscape; Pool Construction: Cox Pools, Birmingham; Construction: Craig Construction; Masonry: Brian Bolen, Bolen Tile Works; Furniture: Ingram's Outdoor Furniture, Crimson Casual

May/June 2010 | 43

The Perfect Home II

THE SCREENED-IN PORCH | CHARLES VAUGHN AND LLOYD MARKS, ROGERSVILLE The screened-in porch at the Elk River house of Charles Vaughn and Lloyd Marks is much like the rest of the house—an effortless mix of contemporary pieces, folk art, flea-market finds, and even some of Vaughn’s own furniture designs. “No matchy-matchy” seems to be the hard and fast rule here, and the result is a calm and serene getaway from the Huntsville couple’s weekday digs. What else would you want your lake house to be? (See page 46 for a glimpse of Vaughn’s extensive collection of matchstick art.) 44 | No’Ala

Design: Charles Vaughn, Vaughn Lumber Company, Inc.

May/June 2010 | 45


Matchstick Art Above: A selection from Vaughn’s extensive matchstick collection including two houses (one with a removable roof), boxes, and a keg inscribed with the word, “LOVE”. A large church (left) is displayed in a guest bedroom next to a painting by Tres Taylor. Below, an intricate frame houses an antique photograph. A bedside table, miniature chest, and house (facing page) are very much at home in the couple’s rustic lakehouse.

46 | No’Ala

What do prisoners, mental patients, and kids at summer camp have in common? They have a lot of time on their hands. Chuck Vaughn discovered a little-known genre of folk art, generally created by prisoners or mental patients, which involves meticulously gluing matchsticks into shapes and sculptures. When Chuck learned about the art form he began collecting it, and today has more than forty pieces of Matchstick Art at his lake home in Rogersville. The sulfur end of the match has been burned, and artists use the darker, burned part of the matchstick in the design, sometimes creating a flamestitch pattern. Chuck says most of the art involves making a frame or underlayment and then gluing the matchsticks onto them, many times creating elaborate and complicated patterns that can be breathtaking. Some of Chuck’s pieces are quite large, and most depict houses or log cabins, although he does own one piece that is a massive sailing ship. His collection looks right at home in his rustic lake cabin, but when you focus on each individual piece and notice the detail, it's truly an amazing art form. Chuck has built his collection by browsing through area antique and junk stores, and you might find pieces—or information about Matchstick Art—in north Florence, along Wood Avenue where there is a concentration of antique dealers; at Bellemeade Antique Market on Highway 72; or in any of the other specialty shops in the Shoals who specialize in primitive or folk art.

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Sarah Elizabeth Vandiver and Benjamin Cole Alexander May 1, 2010


You don’t have to suffer with painful varicose or ugly spider veins. Varicose veins can be eliminated without surgery or a hospital stay, and treatment is covered by most insurances. Our new Vein Wave treatments for spider veins will make your legs look as good as they feel...without compression stockings, without bruising or scars, and without needles or lasers. You’ll see immediate results—and you don’t have to stay out of the sun. So relax! We’ll help you get your legs in shape for summer!

Now in Madison and in the Shoals! Sarah Elizabeth Vandiver and Benjamin Cole Alexander have chosen May 1, 2010 for their wedding. The ceremony will be held in the Interfaith Chapel in Seaside, Florida, with Dorian Flynn officiating. A reception will follow. The bride-elect is the daughter of Mr. John Russell Vandiver and the late Rosemary Gatlin Vandiver of Florence. She is the granddaughter of Ms. Betty Ruth Robison of Tuscumbia and the late Mary Sue Brock of Panama City Beach, Florida. The prospective groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Duane Alexander of Florence. He is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Emmitt Alexander and Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Franklin Wyatt, all of Florence, and the great-grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edward Alexander. Bridesmaids: Jenny Vickery Evers (Matron of Honor), Julie Isbell Hargett, Erika Baker Presley, Jennifer Putman, Tiffany Vandiver, Eleanor Parker, Jennifer Miller, Katie Alexander Groomsmen: Duane Alexander (Best Man and Father of the Groom), Darren Alexander, Kirk Childers, Kevin Magee John Whitten; Roman McDonald; Bradley Paradise; Walt Vandiver Ceremony: Interfaith Chapel, Seaside Florida Rehearsal Dinner: Great Southern Café, Seaside, Florida Reception: Seaside Interfaith Chapel Lawn Bride’s Gown: Cherry Tree Lane Tuxedos: Cherry Tree Lane Wedding Bands: Grogan Jewelers Honeymoon: Riviera Maya, Mexico Registries: Yellow Door, Halsey House, Dillard’s, and Pottery Barn Parties: Engagement Party, given by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Harris Parker Jr. and Eleanor Parker; Christmas Shower, given by Julie Isbell Hargett, Linda Isbell, Jennifer Putman, Tiffany Vandiver, Kimberly Nesbitt Hughston, and Jennifer Miller; Around the House Shower, given by Jenny Vickery Evers, Erika Baker Presley and Jennifer Miller; Tool and Gadget Shower, given by Maggie Gerrard Jenkins, Jenna Dempsey Brewer, Erin Dempsey, Amy Cooper, and Danette Kennedy; Bridal Tea, given by Crosspoint Church of Christ; Bridal Tea, given by Brookhill Church of Christ; Bridal Shower Brunch, given by Rhonda Ivey and Brenda Miller; Bridal Shower Brunch, given by Joan Paris, Jana Beaver, Jenny Ryan, Linda Cutshall, Molly Johnson, Ann Hamilton, and Wanda Mitchell; Tool and Gadget Party, given by Brookhill Church of Christ; Bridesmaids’ Luncheon, given by June Darnell, Missy Woodhouse, and Renee Vandiver

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For more information or to make an appointment, call 866-383-0423 256-383-0423


Shelby K. Bailey, M.D., F.A.C.S. • William A. Collignon, M.D., F.A.C.S.


of the Shoals

(256) 383-1499 398 Ashe Boulevard Sheffield AL 35660

Mark R. McIlwain D.M.D., M.D. Christopher B. Nester D.M.D., M.D. Jonathan W. Frederick D.M.D., M.D.

ProFractional™ Wrinkle Reduction dramatically improves wrinkles, scars and sun damaged skin. ProFractional™ is a quick and comfortable laser procedure used for improving the overall appearance of your skin. There is minimal recovery time, and ProFractional™ is used to treat: • Wrinkles & fine lines • Post-traumatic scars • Acne scars • Age and sun spots Our doctors and medical staff can also consult with you about other cosmetic surgery procedures, including face lifts, eye lifts, brow lifts, orthognathic surgery, scar revision, dental implants, submental liposuction, maxillary and mandibular reconstruction surgery, botox and cosmetic fillers. Gift certificates and financing options are available. Wish you didn’t have to worry about your skin anymore? Call 256-383-1499 for an appointment.

Pam Minetree

Office: 256-740-0706 Cell: 256-483-9325

When you are ready to put down some roots of your own, call a Realtor® who’s grounded and ready to help. May/June 2010 | 49



50 | No’Ala

The house has always been majestic,

from its location in a prominent historic district in Florence. But it was beginning to show its age when the Collins family purchased this grand old home and hired Anne Leslie Warren Tompkins, ASID to redo it. The result is a comfortable showplace, perfect for a growing family and for entertaining. The house was built in 1917 by the Gullette family, and was later occupied by the Wynn family, “and the bones were strong,” said Anne Leslie. Brooks Collins, a financial advisor, and his family purchased it in August of 2007, and in the past three years have redone or reconfigured every part of the home. “Every door and window was tagged and numbered,” said Anne Leslie, “and we did the whole house with historic preservation in mind. We wanted to make it energy efficient, but we wanted it to be true to the neighborhood and respectful of its historic tradition.” Anne Leslie opened up interior spaces and gave it light and air. The dining room is surrounded by French doors that let light in from almost every angle, and interior walls were moved to capture and take advantage of the light. Bathrooms are breathtaking in their use of natural stones, including marble and granite. The kitchen and family rooms flow together to create a huge space for entertaining, and the new driveway leads to a guesthouse and garage in the backyard which can also be used for overflow entertaining. The Collins family has two young children and are expecting a third, so the attic was reworked to create play space for the kids that will change and adapt with them as they grow. Anne Leslie had a real understanding of the family’s needs, because she has young twins of her own! Best of all, for Anne Leslie, this project was like returning home. Her parents live at the opposite end of the street and were the driving force behind the formation of the Walnut Street Historic District, so working on the Collins home had special meaning for her; Anne Leslie grew up just a hop, skip and a jump away from this house. That was a few years ago, before she left for Salem College, where she earned a degree in interior design; she worked in New York for 14 years before returning to Birmingham, where she lives now.

Facing page: The dining room is designed for lingering—the upholstered chairs make for long, leisurely dinners. The living room, right, is the perfect combination of elegant and effortless. Above: the exterior of the renovated Collins home.

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IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS The living room’s palette of creamy whites, frosty blues and silver give the room its light and airy feel. The use of shutters rather than draperies extends a casual charm that continues throughout the house. Wainscotting, extensive mouldings, and a custom fireplace pay homage to the home’s rich history. Accessories and art by Firenze.

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We wanted to make it energy eďŹƒcient, but we wanted it to be true to the neighborhood and respectful of its historic tradition.

In the Collins home, the kitchen takes center stage. Expansive stone countertops, custom built-ins (like the coee station below), substantial bar stools, and a professional range give the room a presence and power.

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Left: The original cabinetry from the Butler’s Pantry (including the ice-box) was salvaged during construction, then reassembled and installed in the office. Reproductions of the original blueprints are displayed here as well. The family room, below, with the requisite flat screen television and comfy furniture makes the perfect gathering place for this young family.

The Collins family (l to r): Judson, Brooks, Sherrie, and Lila

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Every door and window was tagged and numbered, and we did the whole house with historic preservation in mind.

SOURCESÂť Contractor: TAC Construction; Interior Designer: Anne Leslie Warren Tompkins, ASID (; Kitchen Cabinets: Van TiďŹƒn; Bathroom Cabinets: Howard Bragwell, Doors & More; Art and Accessories: Firenze Antiques and Interiors; Antique Rugs: The Flying Carpet

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Above: The master bedroom includes the original fireplace and a masculine, studded headboard. The master bath, below left, includes custom cabinetry, walk-in shower, and a soaking tub. Below: The Collins’ son’s room and bath are all-boy. The artwork over the mantel can be quickly changed to reflect his ever-changing moods and artistic skills.

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Designing Digging to Find You the Best Rate

HomeLenders of the Shoals, inc 502 E. Dr. Hicks Blvd., Florence 路 256-766-7339

May/June 2010 | 57

{ shopping }

Glass One Gallon Beverage Server ($178.99) David Christopher’s (256) 764-7008

Decorative Salamander Sculpture ($93.99) Across The Pond (256) 765-0322 Stylish 2GB Mini USB Flash Drive ($29) The Yellow Door (256) 766-6950

*The Pillow Factory makes pillows and bedding for many high-end hotel—and they’re located in the Shoals! 230 Thread Count Pillow by Comforel ($12 Standard, $15 Queen, $18 King) The Pillow Factory (256) 383-8507

Wooden Lamp by Ambience ($83.25) SBS Electric Supply Co. (256) 764-8481

Galvanic Home Spa ($375) (Includes a Month's Supply of Facial Gels, NaPca Moisture Mist, and DVD. Center for Skin Care & Wellness (256) 764-4711

Oriental Rugs (Prices Vary) The Flying Carpet Oriental Rugs (256) 764-1852

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Sailor’s Hurricane Candle ($125) Halsey House (256) 764-9294

Quality Outdoor Furniture by Crimson Casual (Prices Vary) Ingram’s Inc. (256) 764-9142

Hand Embroidered Alabama Accent Pillow ($129) Elk River Home & Trading Company (256) 247-0345 Wooden Serving Tray ($39.99) Terra Noble Carmenere 07 ($18.99) Nickel & Nickel Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 06 ($86.99) Domaine De Couron Grenache Rosé 07 ($11.99) Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 07 ($51.99)

The Wine Seller (256) 766-1568

White Custom Lamp ($169) Southern Shades & Lighting (256) 757-0045 Dransfield & Ross Hand Towels Chinese Fretwork ($40) Greek Key ($40) The French Basket (256) 764-1237 Hand Embroidered, Wool on Linen, Down Accent Pillow ($165) Firenze Antiques & Interiors (256) 760-1963

Meridian—Casa Stone Dinnerware Collection by Casafina (Prices Vary Per Piece) Xtravagance by Susan (256) 764-1018

Metal Lion Fish Sculpture by Ron Olson ($600) ARTifacts Art Gallery (256) 764-7732

May/June 2010 | 59

{ guess who I saw }

Liza and Porter Hill Frank Beyer, Carla Weaver, Joey Leavitt, and Edwin Anderson Porter Hill and Randall Matthews Dillon Hodges

Will and Ashley Beadle John Perdue, Tim Burgess, and Alyson and JT Ray

Danielle Snoddy, Ali Batcher, and Malorie James


Shoals Young Professionals Wine Tasting FEBRUARY 11, 2010  A. TOMLINSON/SIMS, FLORENCE


Jeannie Faulkner and Virginia Reed

Becky Mauldin, Mason Ingram and Ruth Mauldin

Evie White Jimmy Sandlin Pam Kingbury, Joe Rhodes, Beth Lane, and Paige Thornton

Georgia Osborne, and Claire Pebworth Pat Shoemaker

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Vicki Pounders

Intimate. Informal. Irresistible! At The Sweet Magnolia Café we offer fabulous food, a wonderful wine list, and delectable desserts. Come experience lunch, dinner, or a glass of wine at Happy Hour in a casual Bistro setting, or on our outdoor patio. THE SWEET MAGNOLIA CAFÉ – A memory each and every time………. Reservations accepted but not required

AMAZING Steaks • International Cuisine • Gourmet Sandwiches • Paninis • Salads Wine & Beer • Daily Desserts • New York Bagels • Coffee • Cappuccino

is a locally owned and If you or a loved one ElderCare operated family business, designed expressly for the purpose of meeting need in-home the needs of Shoals area seniors. personal care, by Jean Gay Mussleman in ElderCare Services Founded 1996, after she was unable to find is your trusted source. reliable, adequate care for her own

Dee Mussleman and Jean Gay Mussleman

father, ElderCare Services provides caring, compassionate services to Shoals seniors and support to their families.

ElderCare Services allows seniors to live with dignity, independence and security in their own homes. We provide peace of mind to loved ones who have work and family responsibilities or who live far away.

(256) 740-8249

Visit our new offices at 210 E. College Street, Florence, AL May/June 2010 | 61

The family room is the favorite room in the new house and features spectacular beams, and and hand-painted ceiling by Chris Schweigardt. The painting is by Florence artist Lisa Wallace.

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Our goal was to create a home that was family oriented.” Dr. Burt Rieff and his family transformed an ordinary rancher into a warm, friendly and familycentered home in a wonderful neighborhood near downtown Florence. The house is centrally located to schools and work, so Allison, 14, and Brandon, 12, and parents Burt and Lynne are just where they want to be, but the house needed some serious help. The family began renting the home in 1996, and they were able to purchase it from the church next door in 2002. By 2007, they had to make a decision: would they completely remodel the house and stay, or find




a new place to live? After serious debate, they decided to stay. The process of remaking the house took 14 months, during which time the Rieffs moved out and into a rental home nearby. The entire inside was gutted and the floorplan was reworked to accommodate the family's needs. Nothing was untouched. “Our favorite room is the family room,” said Burt. The room was added to the front of the house and has a fireplace and cathedral ceilings. The yard is spectacular, and the family enjoys gathering around the grill or having friends over. “We call the group that worked on this house the Dream Team,” said Burt. “Everyone worked together beautifully and we enjoyed working with our architect, Phillip Gamble, our building designer, Mike Mitchell, our decorator, Paige Thornton, and Harry Wallace, who designed the landscaping.” The result is a home that is well suited for a growing family, with all the warmth and friendliness the Rieff family wanted.


After May/June 2010 | 63

“We call the group that worked on this house the ‘Dream Team.’ Everyone worked together beautifully.” —Burt Rieff

SOURCES» Building Designer: Phillip Gamble; Interior Designer: Paige Thornton, The French Basket; Landscape Architect: Carol Lambdin; General Contractor: Mike Mitchell Construction Co.; Landscape Contractor: Linda and Harry Wallace, Little Cypress Natives; Cabinets: Ron Letson, Furnace Hill Mill Works; Metalwork: Craig Carson, Lucas Stokes, and Aron Carter; Stone Masonry: Bill Hucklebee; Painting (over the fireplace): Lisa Wallace; Accessories: The French Basket, Lola’s Gifts and Flowers, Cypress Creek Antiques; Antique Rugs: The Flying Carpet; Tile and Hardwood Floors: Greg Burnett (Floor Crafters) and Jenkins Brick; Painting: Mark Forsythe Painting; Textured Finish Ceiling (Great Room and Master Bedroom): Chris Schweigardt; Antique Furniture Refinishing: Bruce Lewter; Window Treatments/Drapery: Robin Preuit; Windows and Doors: (Vetter)– McDaniel Windows and Doors; Tub, Hardware: Southern Pipe; Upholstered Headboard and Master Bedroom Chair: Kathy Johnson Upholstery; Kitchen Lighting: SBS Electric

64 | No’Ala

Facing page: The formal dining room is ooded with light during the day. An sitting/study area, left, acts as a family center and sits between the kitchen and formal dining room. Above: the family room—the doors are antique reproductions from McDaniel Windows and Doors. Below: chocolate quartz countertops by Greg Cochran, and an unique brick treatment for the backsplash and hood give it a renovated, rather than new, feel.

May/June 2010 | 65

Above: Designer Paige Thornton took what could have been a wasted space between the common areas and the master bedroom and turned it into a tidy and useful reading area. The master bedroom, left, with its grand upholstered headboard by Kathy Johnson. Below: the master bath and dressing areas.

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Sometimes during the design process children don’t receive the attention they deserve, but Thornton was adamant about including the Rieff children in the decisionmaking process. The result is two rooms that reflect the children’s personalities and interests, but still tell an cohesive design story. Right: Allison’s room is both colorful and very chic. Brandon’s room, below, has an all-American nautical look

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The courtyard features beautiful entrance gate and spiral staircase designed by Craig Carson, Lucas Stokes, and Aron Carter, as well as some unusual faux bois (false wood) chairs and tables.Hidden behind the climbing vine is a stunning waterwall.

The Rieff family—Allison, Burt, Brandon and Lynne prepare dinner in their outdoor kitchen.

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This Mother’s Day Weekend, come to theWomen’s Heart and Health Seminar May 8th, 8 a.m.—noon, Bevill Center at Northwest Shoals in Muscle Shoals.

This Mother’s Day weekend, encourage your mom to hear a variety of health-related topics of interest to women, including: • Heart Disease • Cardiac and Vascular Surgery • Women and Sleep Disorders • Herbal Supplements • Hormone Replacement • Nutrition • Depression

This event is free, but reservations are required. Call 256-768-8343 today! Landscape lighting makes an impact. And even though we sell everything electrical for your home, it’s the lighting that will get the attention. Like the Hinkley line of lighting for the inside and the outside of your home, just one of the many styles and brands we feature. Set the proper mood for your home, by visiting our lighting showroom—or visit our website at

625 South Cherry Street, Florence, AL 256-764-8481 May/June 2010 | 69



© 2010 Steve Cole–

Sisters Amy Wilbanks (left) and Ann Martin Vitti. Below, Gene and Ann Harris (center) and their family.

Amy’s mother, Ann Harris, was a fixture in Florence. She moved here in 1951, and in the 70’s she began teaching art lessons for children in the Shoals. Later, she studied art under Wendy Van Pelt of Florence and exhibited art at Arts Alive.

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Courtesy of Amy Wilbanks Ann Martin Vitti

Everyone loves a beautiful, well kept garden. Some people garden to adopt a healthy hobby, some do it to improve their house’s curb appeal, and some do it simply for their love of the outdoors. But Amy Wilbanks was moved to create a beautiful garden in Castlewood Park in Buckhead, Georgia for another reason—to commemorate her parents and their amazing lives in the Shoals.

PLANT LIST Trees Crape Myrtle Natchez Shrubs Dwarf Sherwood abelia Bottlebrush Buckeye Korean Boxwood Green Velvet Boxwood American Boxwood Nuccios pearl Camellia Shi Shi Gashira Camellia Autumn Fern Cape Gardenia Creeping Gardenia E. S. Hydrangea Oak Leaf Hydrangea Dwarf Burford Holly Fragrant Tea Olive A. Waterer Spirea Confederate Jasmine

© 2010 Steve Cole–

Before She was Fashion Director for Parisian, and was also a member of the Muscle Shoals District Service League and a dedicated member of Trinity Episcopal Church. Fortunately, Ann was able to give help and advice to Amy in the early stages of the Castlewood Park garden design, although she passed away in 2009 after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Above: Castlewood Park before the garden renovations.

Ann’s husband, Marvin Eugene (Gene) Harris Jr. of Sheffield, was also a member of the Kennedy-Douglass Arts Center and participated in Arts Alive each year. He was originally an engineering executive but in the last 25 years of his life he designed hand-crafted metal jewelry for his company Metalworks. Gene’s jewelry designs were showcased in national and local retail stores and in recognized arts and craft shows across the South. He even designed a commemorative pendant for Rogers Department Store’s 125th Anniversary. Gene was also a devoted member at Trinity as well as a basketball coach and Scout master. He was diagnosed with COPD near the end of his life, but he didn’t let that stop him. He held focus groups at the hospital with other COPD patients to help them use their oxygen machines. He was also an active member of “The Easy Breather” support group in the Shoals area and contributed many practical and helpful solutions to those in need, even designing a breathing apparatus to use in the shower that had a patent pending right before his death in 2006. So, back to the garden. Amy was chosen to receive a grant from Park Pride, a nonprofit in Atlanta, to create the garden in her neighborhood and broke ground in

May/June 2010 | 71

At that point, according to Amy, the park became something very different to her. “It became a symbol of everything my parents had taught me growing up: never give up on a good idea, you can make any environment beautiful, work with the natural beauty of a space and have passion. They always told us to believe in yourself and make it happen.” What better gift could a child give to his or her parents than to create something that will last forever? The Castlewood Park project has been dedicated, and one of the bricks in the pathway is devoted to Ann and Gene Harris. But when Amy strolls through the beautiful park these days, it’s a living reminder of her special parents and the things they taught her. For those in the Shoals who knew and loved the Harris family, the garden is a fitting tribute to two wonderful artists. Next time you’re in Atlanta, stop by and take a look. You’ll see Ann and Gene’s influence everywhere. N

72 | No’Ala

© 2010 Steve Cole–

2008. She and her partner, Fluffy Tambke, and Tim Gartland from Hamilton Land Services, started to labor away at the garden, planting everything from Crepe Myrtles, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Confederate Jasmine, and multiple varieties of Boxwoods. In the last year of her life, Ann Harris was able to help Amy in designing the garden; Amy would show her pictures of the garden when she came through Florence and her mother would critique every move, every angle, and every stone to help make it perfect.

In 1952, when Mr. J.C. Hamm started his business, helping customers stay comfortable in their homes, he might not have imagined it lasting into the fourth generation. But he built this business on confidence and trust, and those are principles that endure. For all of your heating, cooling and home comfort needs, trust the professionals at JC Hamm & Sons—keeping you comfortable for more than 58 years. ABOVE: Mr. J.C. Hamm. LEFT: Sons Rick and Gregg Hamm, grandson Chris (holding his son Carter), and Lilly and Davis.

Heating • Air Conditioning (256) 764-7386 • Air Purification • Mold Issues • Duct Cleaning

256.718.1010 • May/June 2010 | 73

{ bless their hearts }



My killer instinct. I’ve recently completed that annual rite of spring: The Trip to Lowe’s. There, hope springs eternal as I survey the bright vista of blooms, beckoning and full of possibilities. Swept up in the moment, I envision the colorful transformation my yard will undergo, conveniently forgetting my knack for plant homicide. This thumb is not merely sickly chartreuse or even putrid pea-green, it is a Black Thumb—certifiable and undeniable.

Jan Hudson

I, like you, have drooled over the verdant displays of the super-gardeners featured in the preceding pages. I have many equally-talented kind and pitying friends— bless their hearts—who offer me “starts,” such as the Herb Garden. “Here’s a bucket of mint,” a dear one said when I bemoaned my lack thereof with which to garnish my iced tea. “Just throw it out near a garden hose faucet, and it will take over.” Not wanting to risk “just throwing it out,” I carefully tilled, measured, dug, fertilized and lovingly nestled the young plants into their new home. I watered and nurtured, awaiting the promised coup. Weeks later, the message from the black, brittle leaves and shriveled roots was clear: there was no takeover. My mint had surrendered without so much as a skirmish. Need I detail the fate of some hearty basil donated by another comrade determined, perhaps, to encourage a culinary hobby in place of horticulture? Bless her heart. “It can’t be killed,” she assured me, never imagining the havoc that could be wreaked by an overzealous teenager, packin’ a Weedeater. There seems to be a pattern emerging here of charitable Green Thumbers who desire to free me from my prison of environmental unfriendliness. Alas, it takes a neighborhood. Perhaps in response to my neighbors’ praying to do something—anything— about my front yard, the Almighty almost literally knocked me on the head with a huge tree during one of the numerous thunderstorms last August. “… I, in my beauty mask, and Pa, with his C-Pap. Had just opened our windows for a rain-serenaded nap. When on the roof overhead there came such a crash. I sprang from my Memoryfoam and ran like a flash. Tripping over the dog, I tore open the door, To be greeted by a jungle, where there’d been none before….”

74 | No’Ala

“Weeks later, the message from the black, brittle leaves and shriveled roots was clear: there was no takeover. My mint had surrendered without so much as a skirmish.”

The massive oak covered most of the front of the house; and by the time the tree service and roofing trucks had run Motocross on what had previously passed as our front lawn, a one-lovely stand of green weeds was replaced by oozing, rutted red mud. Neighborhood to the rescue! Pitying neighbors brought landscaping magazines, contributed bulbs, pruned, spread mulch and helped move shrubs—between rains. It was three months before there were enough consecutive dry days to lay the sod. (Where is a good drought when you need one?) The new pastime on our street became watching our topsoil slide into the gutter. But our patient friends kept making encouraging comments about how much better the yard would look, bless their hearts. (Could it possibly look any worse?)

glass of iced tea—sans mint—I’m secretly terrified, wondering how soon the entire scene will reveal its mortality and fade to black. After all, it’s certainly no coincidence that the State of Alabama began issuing license plates to “Save the Cahaba Lily” immediately after I planted some. Jan Hudson of Florence is a recently empty-nested working mom whose freelance writing has been on hiatus for the last ten years, during which her primary creative outlets have been school excuse notes, grocery lists and checks.

So, here it is springtime, the new lawn is greening up nicely, and the recently-planted annuals provide cheery dots of color here and there. As I relax in the lawn chair, enjoying a

Residential and commercial doors that are functional . . . and beautiful. Trust Shoals Overhead Door to help you select the door for your application, and then provide service after the sale. Some of the most beautiful entrances in the Shoals start with a call to Shoals Overhead Door.

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256.383.DOOR • May/June 2010 | 75

{ guess who I saw }

Donnie and Mary Armstrong, Amy Darby K.P. and Katy McNeill Andy Cagle

Keith Sims and Pheobee Saye

Surender and Sheela Sandella

Hank and Laura Self Ajit and Divya Naidu


Shoals Art for Heart Ball M ARCH 6, 2010  M ARRIOTT SHOALS CONFERENCE CENTER Jeff Gordon, Carl Casiday, David Sims, and Allen Tomlinson

Ralph Holt

Doss Cleveland, Jr. Nikki and Drew Dill

Sandi and Audwin McGee

76 | No’Ala

Artist Dan Dunn and Brantley Holt

Martha Truitt, Ken Shepski, and Katherine Anderson

Jennifer and Chad Roberson

Why waste time and money in the car when you could be relaxing at Doublehead Resort? Our family-friendly destination offers something for everyone in the family. Wouldn’t you rather vacation at Doublehead?

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BJ Baskin Associate Broker, CRS ASP, e-PRO, ABR, SRES 256-810-2347 Suzanne Morris Associate Broker, ASP 256-366-5416 •

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409 East Mobile Street • Florence, AL 35630

for any celebration!

Summer is the Time to Frolic! Clothing and Accessories New Arrivals Weekly! 1326 North Pine Street, Florence 256-766-6150 Tuesday–Friday: 10am–5pm Saturday: 11am–4pm

Bridal gifts, graduation, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. No matter what you’re celebrating, we have a gift for it! Free delivery within the Shoals area. 2713 East 2nd Street, Muscle Shoals

256-383-3770 Gourmet candy baskets every day ! May/June 2010 | 77

{ 20 questions }

20 Questions for Eleven Realtors The Realtors BJ Baskin Anne Bernauer Babs Campbell Charlotte Dean David Gardner LaDonna Mansell Pam Minetree Suzanne Morris Shirley Neese Vicky Phillips Jeannie Rogers

Real estate in the Shoals is unique because… …once someone has lived here—they want to come back to stay! (Bernauer) …of the wonderful wide spectrum of people that live here. Their homes reflect their character. (Mansell) …our area has so much to offer. The cultural resources and natural resources here are like none other. A college town on a river—what could be better? (Morris) I know people have found the perfect house for them when… …their faces light up and they start mentally placing their furniture and the children start picking their rooms. (Phillips) …they can’t stop talking about it! (Minetree) …I’ve actually had clients that walked into a foyer and said, “This is it”, an immediate “ah-ha” moment. (Morris) When it comes to picking a home, men always… …place emphasis on the garage, basement and structural issues. They usually see the house “as it is” and not what it could be. (Phillips) …want to know about the structural aspect of the home. (Neese) …figure out if their toys (boat, motorcycle, car) will fit in the garage. (Minetree) …lots of men just want to know where their easy-chair is going. (Morris) And women always… …ask about the size of the walk-in closets and ask “do the window treatments stay?” (Gardner)

78 | No’Ala

…respond to “fluff ” in the decor. Bad paint color choices can turn them away from a house. Often they want a house to be perfect before they move in, even knowing that everything will be changed. (Dean) …want a functional, recently updated kitchen and bath. (Neese) …want an updated kitchen even if they never cook. (Mansell) …get what they want—usually! (Campbell) The most unusual feature I’ve seen in a house is… …a sauna—in the South! (Baskin) …unbelievably detailed, custom trim work and luxury bath fixtures in a 1000 sq. ft., $39,000 house I currently have on the market. You wouldn’t believe it! (Phillips) …a set of chains hanging from the ceiling in the basement of someone’s home. Not sure what the chains were for (did not ask) but they were certainly an unusual feature. (Gardner) …an escape tunnel from a safe room, built to give the homeowners a way out of the house in case the door to the basement is blocked by falling debris. Personally, I thought it was a secret way out of the house if the police came. (Dean) My advice to someone who is about to start looking for a home is… …to make a wish list of what is important to you in a house. (Bernauer) …to get pre-approved with your bank or mortgage broker. It helps simplify the home buying process by saving valuable time, and the buyer knows what his or her mortgage payment will be before they look at house. (Gardner) …write down what the features are that are important to you in order of importance. Make sure you let your Realtor have the list up front. Also, even more importantly, if you will need financing, spend the 15 minutes necessary to speak with a local, reputable lender and ask to be pre-qualified. That is helpful in order to see if you are comfortable with possible rates, payments, etc, and when you accompany an offer with a prequalification, it can help you negotiate a better price. (Rogers) My advice to someone who is about to list their house is… …get the price right the first time. Look carefully at the comparables and don’t overprice a house just because it is precious to you. Get the house clean and in good order before you begin to show it. Get it staged. (Dean) …get your house in “parade ready” condition and remember that “clutter eats equity”. (Baskin) …make yourself familiar with what’s on the market in your

area, and in your home’s price range. Look to see which Realtor that you think has a “pulse on your market”. And start doing the little chores that you’ve been putting off around your home. Your Realtor should be able to help you make your “to-do list” in order to have your house sell before the competition sells! (Rogers) …open the front door and walk in, as if you were looking at the house—make a list of things that would bother you—be honest with yourself! (Bernauer) If you’re getting a house ready to sell, NEVER… …remodel or over-improve the house beyond what the neighborhood or area will support. (Phillips) …do it without the help of an experienced and licensed Realtor. (Rogers) …try to sell it yourself initially. Let a professional introduce it to the market and take advantage of the professional’s advice. (Dean) …Never paint like you see on television. Paint a neutral color—no purple! (Bernauer) …go out of town and leave the animals home alone. (Minetree) …but ALWAYS …de-clutter—then de-clutter again. (Bernauer) …make sure it is clean and uncluttered. Edit everything! (Phillips) …de-clutter your home. Remove as many personal photos as you can. Get an early start on boxing those up. Also, removing unused furniture will help show off the space that your home has to offer. (Gardner) …ask for a list of homes that have sold recently in your neighborhood in order to price your house effectively. (Rogers) …make your house “parade ready,” with helpful hints and advice from your Realtor, to show potential buyers. (Campbell) …scrub it till it gleams. (Mansell) …consider if you do have animals that some people are allergic, fearful, and even have very discriminating noses. (Minetree)

Ken Mitchell knows telephone systems, networks and more.

Ken Mitchell • 256-765-7020 • 877-765-7020 Fax: 256-760-7040 • 250 S. Poplar Street, Florence, AL 35630

The biggest mistake home buyers make is… …overpricing, overpricing, overpricing. Often relying on the word of “someone” who offered an opinion about the house—this “someone” is invariably an individual who knows nothing about real estate! (Dean) …not getting pre-qualified for a loan first, before starting their mission of purchasing a home. (Neese) I wish people knew this about the real estate market in the Shoals… …A house in the Shoals is still the best buy for your money in real estate anywhere. (Dean) …that our market is OK! We have survived! We have not been affected by the economy like many parts of the country. (Campbell) …Housing decline has not hit the Shoals yet and I believe we will all be fine…slow recovery is good. (Neese) …we are seldom on “trend”. What’s happening nationally usually has nothing to do with our local market. (Mansell)

May/June 2010 | 79

If you want to sell your house, the most effective way to spend money to get it ready is… …to get it professionally staged—get the advice of a professional about any updates you plan to do. (Dean) …to have a attractive well kept nicely landscaped entrance to the home, make the inside Q-Tip clean and clutterfree and neutralize the paint colors. (Baskin) …to call a certified and insured home inspector so you can complete any repairs necessary. (Neese) …deep cleaning and decluttering, painting and making sure anything electrical and mechanical is in good working order. This applies to both the interior and exterior of a home. (Morris)

…it is an absolutely wonderful place to call home! The lake system with the water sports that accompany it, the small Southern town feel, the art and cultural community and events, friendly people, fine golf courses, beautiful state of the art library, low cost of living, and quality of life continue to attract newcomers to our area. (Rogers) …we have so much to offer: beautiful lakes, golf courses, good school systems, community activities, and overall a good quality of living! (Campbell) …of a wonderful quality of life! The Tennessee River and incredible “Shoals” music—those two things separate us from every other small city in the South! (Minetree)

Don’t waste your time and money on… …new furniture, draperies or landscaping if the home isn’t clean! (Phillips) …“big ticket” items—let the buyer do that, but make it easy for them… (Bernauer) …trying to sell your home by owner…hire a Realtor with expertise! (Campbell) …knick knacks…clutter free sells! (Mansell) …high stylized makeovers. Leave the canvas clean enough for the new buyers to pain their own picture. (Minetree)

If I were not a Realtor, I would… …be an attorney, a banker, or an appraiser, as they all relate to the real estate industry… or for more fun… a cruise director. (Campbell) …I would be a landscaper…love the outdoors. (Mansell) …retired, but working as a volunteer in my community. (Morris)

I predict that in 50 years every home will… …incorporate the use of technology to control the functions of a home. (Baskin) …have solar panels. (Bernauer) …will be energy efficient. (Gardner) …will be smaller with several family members living under one roof. (Neese) I predict in ten years that the real estate market in the Shoals will… …be hotter than ever. As the economy recovers, our local industries will thrive, waterfront property values will continue to rise, land/acreage prices will continue to rise, and demand for homes will continue to rise. (Gardner) …will continue to be stable. (Neese) …will be stronger than ever. We can’t keep our area a secret forever…the word is already leaking out. (Mansell) The recession changed things here by… …making it difficult to borrow money. (Baskin) …making it harder to get a mortgage. All the more reason to get preapproved with a local lender. (Phillips) …allowing buyers to take advantage of incentives created for harder-hit markets. Buyers have benefited from the low interest rates and from tax credits. (Morris) People are attracted to the Shoals because… …of its location by the Tennessee River, recreation and education opportunities, favorable housing costs, low property taxes and proximity to larger cities like Huntsville, Memphis and Nashville. (Baskin)

80 | No’Ala

My secret to success as a Realtor is… …hard work. Trying to think ahead on each transaction so that you don’t have any surprises, networking with other professionals, communicating with customers on a regular basis, all seem to have helped me be successful. (Rogers) …to listen to what people want and always be honest with people. (Gardner) …loving my job! (Minetree) It’s not just a house… …it is a place where loved ones grow old together, a place families play together, a place Christmas memories are made, a place where your child makes birthday party memories, it is a place where we laugh and cry, a place we spend time with friends, a place where we feel safe; it is a place we call home. (Gardner) …it’s the biggest investment we have, so the transition from one house to the next needs to be treated with seriousness and professionalism. A Realtor can help that investment remain intact and facilitate a sale from the first stage of getting the home ready to closing out and transferring the deed. For a buyer, getting the right home certainly increases the chances that you have made a smart investment. (Rogers) …it’s a place we’ve helped you find to live so that you can shelter yourself and those you love. It’s your haven and we’ve help you find that special place that you can call home. (Dean) …It is an investment, your home and the place where you make memories for your family that are enduring for years to come. (Baskin) …it’s a home! (Campbell) …As George Carlin said, “It’s the place where we keep our stuff ”, and hopefully where we make sweet memories. (Morris) N

A Frien d of t he Br i de’s Si nc e 1976 Floral Design, Event Planning, & Home Accessories (256) 383-2299 · 214 North Montgomery Avenue · Sheffield, Alabama




{ parting shot }

82 | No’Ala BY


For more than 75 years, First Southern Bank has been the home lending specialist in the Shoals. If you have dreams of becoming a homeowner, or even of remodeling the home you’re in, these are the people to talk to. Can we help you with your home financing needs?

Debbie Poole 303 N. Pine Street, Florence • 256-718-4237

Five convenient locations to serve you.

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869 Florence Blvd. Florence, AL 35630 256-764-4700

202 W. Avalon Ave. Muscle Shoals, AL 35661 256-386-5220

2602 Hough Rd. Florence, AL 35630 256-740-5515

No'Ala Magazine, May/June 2010  

Home and Garden; A Memorial Garden in Atlanta; Profile of Donnie Phillips, Landscape Architect; The Perfect House II; Two Remarkable Renovat...

No'Ala Magazine, May/June 2010  

Home and Garden; A Memorial Garden in Atlanta; Profile of Donnie Phillips, Landscape Architect; The Perfect House II; Two Remarkable Renovat...